Over the centuries, much ink has been spilled reimagining the temptation of Eve and interpreting her fall from grace. Many have attempted to render that pregnant symbol — the bait and switch, the beautiful lie — into fresh forms that continue to resonate. The science fiction television series Raised by Wolves draws on this ancient story, while moving the myth into uncanny, alien territory. This time the “Mother of all the Living” (Gen. 3:20) isn’t an innocent woman in communion with God at humanity’s beginning: she is an android programmed with a naive atheism, living at a time when humanity has almost reached its end.
Created by Aaron Guzikowski (and partially directed by Ridley Scott), Raised by Wolves (RBW) nests these iconic elements in a high-tech future where artificially intelligent androids are approaching the borderlands of personhood and moral agency. In this world, the tools we’ve fashioned (artificial intelligence — AI) are placed in the position of fashioning us: robots aren’t just appliances, they are parents — male and female persons in a human drama. The fact that they’re responsible for children opens up the potential for something to emerge beyond their programming: the realm of desire, purpose, self-reflection, happiness, and love — with its shadow-side of grief, failure, sin, and regret. This raises a question: if an android could transcend its code, what would it want? Could its naive desires and biases be exploited? What temptations would a self-aware AI face? What happens when the maternal impulse is wedded to a machine?
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Alisa Ruddell about her online-exclusive, “Raised by Wolves: The Temptation and Trauma of an Android Eve”.
***Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Seasons One and Two of Raised by Wolves.***
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